Idaho Grower Solves Tracking Troubles with Radial Tires
Jan 29, 2019
Like most irrigators, Idaho grower Tom Faulkner is always looking for ways to help his center pivots operate more efficiently.
“I irrigate about 1,000 acres on my operation in southern Idaho. My principal crops are alfalfa and corn. I sometimes rent ground for potatoes and sugar beets,” he said. “I operate 15 pivots - three of which are on ground with more of a slope. On those pivots, I wanted better traction and smaller pivot tracks.”
The solution – radial tires.
“Radial tires are standard on other types of farm equipment, and they’re becoming more common on pivots, too,” said Christopher Higgins, Zimmatic Product Manager. “While high quality radial tires cost a bit more than bias ply tires, the benefits far outweigh the additional cost.”
The difference, Higgins said, begins with the tires’ construction.
“Radials have a wider, flatter profile, which means more surface contact area in the wheel track and better flotation,” he said. “They are typically fewer rutting and wheel track depth issues as the season progresses.”
Other benefits include:
- Wheel tracks left by radial tires are flatter and wider, making them much easier for equipment to drive over.
- Radials generally run at much lower air pressure (15-17 psi) than bias ply pivot tires. They have strong, flexible sidewalls that can support the load of the pivot – even at lower air pressures. This allows more contact area and increased traction in difficult conditions.
- Radial tires provide the most compliant tracking and smoothest rolling characteristics of any pivot tracking option, leading to less torque being transmitted back into your pivot driveline and tower span structures.
- With rugged construction, radials are about 80 percent more resistant to cuts and penetrations in the tread area than bias ply tires.
- If a tread face or puncture does occur, a radial tire is much more likely to be repaired and put back into service.
- Radials have a much tighter bead to rim spec than bias ply tires, which reduces the chance for “pinch flats” and loss of the bead/rim seal in difficult terrain – especially at lower tire pressure.
For Faulkner, that means fewer trips to the field.
“I was really pleased with the performance of my radials. They only got stuck two times last summer, and I could get them out with a shovel. Before the radials, I’m guessing it was more like 20 times,” he said. “I would recommend them to any grower who has problems with their pivots getting stuck.”
The tubeless radial wheelsets come with an 8-year limited warranty and are available in 12.4” x 38”, 14.9” x 24” and 11.2” x 24” sizes.